A headline in the liberal Los Angeles Times last year could not have been more clear: “The reality of legal weed in California: Huge illegal grows, violence, worker exploitation and deaths.” More than five years after pot was fully legalized in that state, the vast majority of sales continue to be of illegal rather than legal marijuana.
California Merced County Sheriff Vern Warnke recently announced, “We literally have thousands of pounds of finished marijuana from an illegal grow and illegal source.” Workers “were forced to process marijuana while staying in horrible living conditions to pay back the individuals that brought them across the border,” his office explained. This is just one example of the very dangerous elements brought in by the promise of marijuana profits.
So it won’t be the many family-run farms in conservative states like Missouri that benefit from this new billion-dollar enticement of violence, illegal aliens, and squalid working conditions. Instead, this will bring more crime to this conservative state, due to its easy ballot initiative process.
Higher thresholds for ballot initiatives are an important safeguard to protect against out-of-state corporate money enacting harmful laws through the ballot initiative process. When the potential profits are this big, shadowy out-of-state operations have no qualms about dropping big money to quite literally buy a new law in their favor. The lower the threshold for a ballot initiative, the more easily these laws can be purchased.
Congress rejects corporate pressure to legalize cannabis, as do most state legislatures. But spending tens of millions of dollars to push through a ballot initiative is pocket change to the cannabis industry, which continues to target conservative states like South Dakota and Florida where ballot initiatives are allowed. Don’t be fooled by rhetoric about democracy. Our Founding Fathers created a representative constitutional republic for a reason. State legislatures act as a safeguard against threats like Big Weed, and ballot measures are the backdoor by which the marijuana industry is able to circumvent these protections.